We venerate today the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist in which “God lies concealed cloaking His Face with the appearance of Bread and Wine. He is whole, entire, and perfect in each piece and in every drop.”
Throughout this week, the Catholic Church has taken a moment to adore, worship and venerate this central creed – that Christ is alive and communicates with God’s People primarily in the Eucharist reserved here in our tabernacle and in the tabernacles around the world. This is what distinguishes us among Christians and from other religions – Jesus dwells here among us and we recognize, respect and sanctify the place where He dwells.
My dear friends, the affects of this presence are significant for us as a parish and as individuals. Our reception of this sacrament strengthens us with enough grace to fight our daily battle against evil, prejudice, injustice and temptation.
When we receive just one host, we have within us enough grace to convert our heart and to bring to communion other hearts that seek God. How could we ever abandon or even deny this most holy Sacrament? It is the key to our survival and our salvation.
If we want to achieve communion with Christ we will need to receive the communion of Christ. Throughout the ages, people suffer the violence of other human beings in order to have Jesus in their heart and among them in their parish.
Here in Philadelphia our early history was afflicted by those who burned our churches, mocked our children and forced us to hide our religious practices from the public.
We suffer even today at the hands of those who wish to deny God and scourge the Church, so it is important for us to renew this worthy feast because it reminds us that our suffering for Jesus in the Church will make us strong! Together we can thank Him for the chance to defend our faith, this sacrifice, and this Holy Communion.
Saint Pope John Paul II reminded us that commemorating this solemnity the Church, “not only celebrates the Eucharist but solemnly bears it in procession, publicly proclaiming that the sacrifice of Christ is for the whole world.”
Let our parish gathered here this weekend as the true Body of Christ go out and proclaim our faith in this land of the free. Let us be bold and stand up for our inalienable right to be free. May our prayer be that of the sequence in today’s Mass:
“Jesus, with your love befriend us. You refresh us you defend us. With your eternal goodness send us forth in the land of life to see”, ‘your eternal glory!’